RNC’s Steele cancels on NABJ due to food poisoning

July 30, 2010

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele canceled an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego on Friday due to food poisoning.

The NABJ announced the news on its convention website by displaying a picture of Steele with a red “canceled” banner across it, and a write-up that begins:  “A bad meal has spoiled one of the most anticipated events at this week’s NABJ convention.”

USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANSSteele was to have appeared in a session titled “Life, Liberty and Legacy” a day after Shirley Sherrod spoke at the same convention. Sherrod on Thursday said she planned to sue conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart who posted an edited video that led to accusations of racism and forced her to resign from the Agriculture Department. (After the whole video was seen, the Ag Secretary apologized and the President of the United States called her).

For anyone wondering whether Steele’s cancelation had anything to do with avoiding issues related to Sherrod, we asked the question and an RNC aide tells us it was food poisoning and that in the past week Steele had addressed the Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Urban League.

“While traveling out West the chairman came down with a bad case of food poisoning.  He is disappointed to miss the opportunity to take part in this valuable dialogue and looks forward to engaging with NABJ in the very near future,” an RNC statement said.

We were also told that Steele did not visit a hospital, but a doctor was consulted.

My colleague Christopher Doering informs me that an estimated 76 million people in the United States get sick each year with foodborne illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Riley (Steele at a news conference Jan. 30, 2009)

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